Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings for Your Home

ByDaniel Hall  AUG 4, 2023

Decoding the acronyms used to rate the energy efficiency of a home and its appliances can be confusing. However, understanding these ratings is crucial for reducing your home’s carbon footprint and unlocking energy savings.

One common rating system is Energy Star, which helps shoppers compare the energy efficiency of appliances and building products. Energy Star products have met high standards for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency, resulting in utility bill savings.

For a comprehensive review of a home’s energy efficiency, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is a useful tool. The NGBS sets standards for constructing energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable homes. These standards cover water and energy efficiency, indoor air quality, sustainable building materials, and more.

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2 (SEER2) is used to rate the energy efficiency of air conditioners, gas furnaces, and heat pumps. A higher SEER2 rating indicates a more efficient unit, resulting in potential electric bill savings.

LEED is a certification awarded to buildings that are energy efficient, have a low carbon footprint, and promote healthy indoor air quality. LEED covers all types of buildings, including residential, and takes into account various factors such as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, and sustainable building materials.

Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) are used to rate air conditioners, heat pumps, and heating efficiency. The most efficient units have high EER and HSPF ratings, resulting in increased energy savings.

Furnaces have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which tells you the percentage of fuel that is converted into heat. Higher AFUE ratings indicate more efficient furnaces.

Enterprise Green Communities Certification is given to affordable housing communities that follow strict guidelines for energy efficiency, environmental responsibility, and indoor air quality. These communities feature energy-efficient homes with eco-friendly materials and outdoor spaces that prioritize sustainability.

The HERS Index or HERS Score is used to measure a home’s overall energy efficiency compared to other homes. A lower score indicates a more efficient home.

Understanding these energy efficiency ratings can help you make informed decisions when it comes to buying, building, or upgrading your home, resulting in cost savings and a reduced environmental impact.


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